My Private Collection

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Places.”

For some reason I’m reminded of a line from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”.

“The best time is now, the best place is here”

If my memory is still intact I believe they were asking Aristotle about his impressions of modern day California.  The lesson being to not get wrapped up in the “what if’s” or always wondering if the best thing is around the corner rather than right in front of you.  In front of me are a series of monitors, some on, others quiet but all representing a place that I don’t want to be.  So with all due respect to Aristotle, maybe Dr. Suess is a little more appropriate “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

I’m going to step into Quantum Leap’s accelerator chamber and vanish!

There’s a woman holding a parasol walking along the edge of a river bank.  Her ivory dress flowing in the gentle breeze pushing it ever so slightly to the left as she continues down her walkway.  Pale blue skies reflecting off the water’s surface and a small child runs a few steps behind.  Flowers in all colors surround this path.  Violets, pinks, yellows, all catching the light of the sun, brightening the vestige of Spring’s warmth on the inhabitants of this picture.  The archway of a simple wooden bridge connecting the sides, allowing each person to stare down into their reflections in the cool water flowing slowly downstream.

It’s a picture I once saw in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  A collection of Monet’s on display, but I later found that this particular example was not his work.  And for years I have tried to find a print for purchase.  I could swear it was called “The Sheltering Path”, but no reference can be found in any catalog.  So I have some details mixed up, reversed in some manner.  What you find in Google is a gentleman walking a path alone.  It’s a wonderful piece that stands on its own.

For years I had Whitney on a hunt for this piece.  She was always looking for something special to find for any occasion.  But one day we just decided to sit down an look through the collected works in various databases.  Artists I didn’t know, styles she wasn’t familiar with.  French Impressionism at it oddest, pointillism my preference.  Before I knew it, hours had passed while we just hit the tab forward button, talking about each piece.  I learned so much that day about what she liked, what she had seen, things that she wanted to do.  All as a result of staring at a 27 inch monitor!

I’ve been around the globe in my lifetime, seen some amazing things, done some amazing things.  But in the end it has always been about the people I have been around.  How many people travel 3000 miles away and run into a girl you have a crush on back home?  16 years old and that happens in the middle of Austria!  What about that boring meeting you get shipped off at work for, only to have a profound talk that evening over a topic that has been vexing you for months with a complete stranger?  Last week I had a woman come up and just rub my shoulder for a minute.  The result of my weak half-smile while waiting for yet another doctor to tell me something.

Each one of those moments captured in my mind’s eye.  At times equal parts sorrow and sadness, pride and joy.  But the common factor is always the people, not the place.  So while I close my eyes and see that beauty, I also see the people who made it special.

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